One night it was suppertime and Mom still wasn’t home. We had spent the day re-caulking the bathtub, which was fun because of how gross it was. Then we cleaned up and Sergeant Defenbargh boiled hot dogs and cut up some sweet potatoes and fried them on the stove. They were Mom’s favorite. He was better at sweet potatoes than pancakes. We waited an extra 35 minutes, but finally he loaded up our plates and we ate without talking.


After supper Sergeant Defenbargh sat at the table with his book. “Go watch TV,” he said, but instead I got a book and sat across from him. My book was about a boy and his sister who traveled through time. In this one, they had accidentally been sent back to the time of the dinosaurs. There was a lot of running and hiding in caves. The pictures were better than the story.


Every once in a while I would look up at Sergeant Defenbargh. He had stopped reading and now stared at the clock on the microwave. When the front door finally opened, he turned from the microwave to me.


“Go to bed,” he said.


“But it’s only —”


“Go to bed, Private!”


I wasted no time. Halfway to my room I realized my book was still on the table, but I didn’t dare go back for it.